A recent StarTribune article (6-24-20) projects a food shortage in Minnesota by this fall, a direct result of the COVID 19 restrictions. The numbers projected are that 735,000 Minnesotans will be “food insecure” i.e. they won’t have enough to eat. The political/economic consequences of COVID 19 appear more devastating than medical consequences.
Do the following facts justify restrictions that make people go hungry?
- The risk of dying from a COVID virus infection appears to be between 0.5 to 1 % of those who become infected.
- As of June 28, 2020 the MN Department of Health website indicates a total of 1,417 COVID related deaths — 1,116 of whom were in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
- The average yearly total number of deaths (from all causes) in MN is approximately 45,000.
- The current “surge” of COVID cases is a reflection of increased testing.
The StarTribune article predicts an MN unemployment rate of 18% by this fall and that the economy will not simply improve as the restrictions are lifted at the current pace. The consulting firm of McKinsey & Co. believes that the worse is still ahead of us in terms of economic impact. Once the COVID 19 aid packages wear off, we may well see massive bankruptcies, furloughs, and cutbacks, all of which disproportionally affect the working poor and people at the economic margin, hence the surge in hunger.
In weighing the benefits and risks, it becomes clear that restrictions need to be lifted quickly to help keep 735,000 people in MN from going hungry. The current course is simply not acceptable.